NATO’s 2010 Strategic Concept defined three objectives for the Atlantic Alliance: a continuing commitment to collective defence; the ability to prevent and manage crises beyond its shores whose effects risk undermining members’ security; and deepening security cooperation with neighbours and more distant partners on challenges of common concern.
Just four years later, the risks that these three objectives were designed to confront have revealed themselves. Peace and stability in Europe are being challenged by a revisionist Russian government; political order in the Middle East, North Africa and across the Sahel is under threat; and territorial disputes in Asia pose risks to the economic interests of all members of the Alliance and challenge the security commitments of others. The emergence of a more dangerous world in the second decade of the 21st century poses a historic test for the governments of the transatlantic community.
Leaders must show the political will to confront today’s security challenges today, not tomorrow. They must convince citizens that they cannot take their security for granted. Even as the scars of the economic crisis and the siren call of populist politicians tempt them to turn inwards, governments must reaffirm the value of the Atlantic Alliance. They must also acquire and deploy the necessary resources, even though this will mean making tough choices. Following its withdrawal from Afghanistan, NATO ne